Look at any health threat and you'll find the potential for a personal injury case. The novel coronavirus, or the virus that causes COVID-19, is no different, and already people are wondering if they might have a personal injury case if they catch the virus because they were forced back to work, or because of another reason. Technically, it is possible to sue someone for giving you the coronavirus and to win, but it takes a lot of evidence and planning.
Deliberate or Negligent Acts
First, you have to prove that the person engaged in a deliberate act meant to expose you to the virus, or that they were willfully negligent about exposure. Think about those people who have coughed on others and claimed to have COVID-19 or those who decided to go out and socialize even though they were already showing symptoms of COVID-19. Because anyone can be carrying the virus and not know it, you can't just assume that the person coughing near you gave you the virus; you could have had it already and just been in the pre-symptomatic stage. In order to file a personal injury lawsuit against someone for viral exposure, you'd need to show that that person specifically did something that was meant to expose you or that exposed you to more viral particles than you might have otherwise encountered.
No Other Potential Exposure
You'll also have to show that you've had no other potential exposure over the past couple of weeks. Again, you could have already picked up the virus the week before, so whoever just coughed in your face really had no effect on you (other than to make you feel disgusted). If you've been staying home and were venturing out for the first time in a month, for example, and the first person you encountered coughed in your face, that could help you because that person would be the first one you've encountered in a month. But if you've been going out to grocery stores every few days and shopping at multiple markets every time you've gone out, then you'd have a harder time proving that you didn't pick up the virus from one of your shopping trips.
You also need to show that you've taken the appropriate preventative measures. Have you been washing your hands and wearing a mask whenever you go out? If not, then it would be easy for the defense to say that you were constantly at risk of exposure due to your habits. On the other hand, if you have been doing your best to avoid the virus, and you still caught it after someone coughed on you, that could help show that you weren't at fault and that this person really might have exposed you.
The whole situation surrounding the coronavirus and exposure is tricky and will no doubt change over time. It's best to consult a lawyer to help determine if your case has merit.
To learn more, reach out to a company like Cantor Injury Law.